God bless local news. Annie Schubert was expecting a "bread and butter" Dell running Windows for school. But when she fired up her accidental Ubuntu machine, confusion was only the beginning of her problems.
You see, Annie was ready to enroll in online classes at Madison Area Technical College (emphasis mine), so she bought a Dell laptop with Ubuntu pre-loaded. MATC lists as its requirements Microsoft Word and internet access, so when her Verizon DSL install CD wouldn't work and the word "Microsoft" was nowhere to be found, she called Dell. There, a gracious callcenter support drone told her that Ubuntu was just fine for everything she needed to do (true, I would say) and that it's just perfect for college students. Annie agreed.
Something tells me there are a few critical plot points missing from WKOW's story, because we go from that point to dropping out of MATC due to continued failings in getting the Ubuntu machine wired up to the net and ongoing confusion over this whole "Open Office" thing.
And then, instead of calling the school and Verizon to get things settled, Annie went to Dan Cassuto, overseer of WKOW's crack Troubleshooter segment. He called Verizon and MATC and everything is just fine now. Phew.
As ridiculous as it may be, let this serve as a parable. Just because you and I know that setting up a DSL connection without the install CD is pretty easy, and that Open Office can save Word-compatible documents just fine, poor Annie-a perfect representation of a mainstream user if I ever saw one-got tripped up. Linux will never truly go seamlessly mainstream with problems like this persisting.